Contextualizing Middle Stone Age Human BehavioralCognitive Development: Insights from Herbivore Isotope Ecology at Sibudu KwaZulu-Natal S Afr30007542

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Contextualizing Middle Stone Age Human BehavioralCognitive Development: Insights from Herbivore Isotope Ecology at Sibudu KwaZulu-Natal S Afr30007542 Contextualizing Middle Stone Age human behavioral and cognitive development: Insights from herbivore isotope ecology at Sibudu, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa The proposed research examines the role of local environment and climate in the development of human behavior and cognition during the African Middle Stone Age (~150,000 25,000 years ago). A variety of environmental, demographic, and social models have been proposed to explain the origins of basic human cultural development in the late Pleistocene of Africa. These models both the environmental and non-environmental ones are contingent primarily on climatic and environmental data which are temporally, spatially, and stratigraphically separated from archaeological sites. High-resolution on-site data are sorely needed to establish behavior-environment links on the ground. The proposed project will provide needed site-specific data through stable carbon and oxygen isotope analysis of faunal tooth enamel from the site of Sibudu, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Sibudu is rare among African Middle Stone Age sites in that it has a detailed, well-dated, and extensive Middle Stone Age sequence spanning from > 77,000 to ~38,000 years ago. The isotope data will be used to: (1) investigate environmental and climate changes within and across the Middle Stone Age sequence at Sibudu; (2) determine if and how environment and climate correlate with behavioral and technological change in the sequence. As with many other Middle Stone Age sites, the archaeology has been interpreted to support both environmental and non-environmental explanations for the behavioral and cognitive development of the inhabitants. In addition to clarifying this issue in the specific case of Sibudu, project findings also have the broader implication of providing insight to Middle Stone Age human development models more generally. funding is solicited to cover the costs of the PI to travel to Johannesburg for sample collection and for isotope spectrometry at the University of Florida.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date5/1/171/31/18

Funding

  • Rust Family Foundation: $4,720.00

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